People in the tech world LOVE the word “disruption” lately.

It’s funny, because the term was actually coined back in 1995 by Clayton Christensen in his classic book The Innovator’s Dilemma.  Today, disruption is everyone’s favourite word in the tech world.

Yesterday I read the story about a company that has developed a homeopathic pill to ward off mosquitoes.

People are up in arms!

“There’s no way I’m swallowing a homeopathic pill to fight mosquitoes! Are you kidding?”
“Who knows! The side effects from the pill might be worse than West Nile Virus!”

(These are real comments by the way. As my mentor says, “you can’t make this stuff up.“)

The alternative is to continue lathering your skin with harmful liquids and chemicals from an aerosol can. But I digress.

This company’s sales, however, are going bonkers.

This is disruptive change. It’s disruptive because it’s exciting, it’s risky, and it gets people all fired up. If you want to create something that’s enormously profitable, sometimes you have to get WAY outside the box.

Your startup isn’t disruptive because you say it is. Your new business model isn’t disruptive because you claim it to be so. Disruptive means dramatic change from the status-quo and the way things have always been done, by presenting a new and revolutionary way to do them. And then, and only then, the marketplace decides.